Australian Politics

Subject POLS10001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 35 Contact Hours: 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks. No tutorials in Week 1.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof John Murphy


Subject Overview:

This subject is an introduction to contemporary Australian politics with an emphasis on what makes Australia unique and with an assessment of how democratic institutions have developed over time. In addition to examining the formal political system, we will also be debating the role of citizenship and participation in Australian political culture. So while dealing with institution arrangements such as parliament, the executive, the bureaucracy, policy-making, federalism and the High Court, we will also look at citizens’ activism, in social movements as well as in political parties, and examine key theoretical arguments and political ideologies. The subject is based on the proposition that politics is important because it is how we shape our future.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • understand key foundations and critical concepts in the discipline of political science;
  • demonstrate a detailed and critical understanding of the institutions of Australian democracy;
  • develop an understanding of competing interpretations of political ideologies, ideas and arguments about the role of citizens in a democracy;
  • demonstrate the ability to engage critically and insightfully in contemporary political debates;
  • demonstrate the development of skills in critical analysis and evaluation as applied to Australian politics;
  • demonstrate the ability to argue a considered position in oral and written presentations;
  • work respectfully and productively in small and large groups with other students.

  • A draft discussion paper of 500 words (10%) due in week 4 of the semester.
  • A critical reflective essay of 2000 words (35%) which will incorporate the draft above, due in week 8 of the semester.
  • A take-home short essay assignment totalling 2000 words (35%) due during the examination period.
  • The remaining 20% of total marks are (provisionally) assigned to student engagement in the subject, and this involves a fourth assessment task. It consists of the student group designing and running a political exercise to make a decision on whether this 20% will, or will not, be assigned to assessment of student engagement in tutorials and in this larger decision-making process.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Fenna, A., Robbins, J. & Summers, J. (eds) Government and Politics in Australia Melbourne, Pearson, 2014

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies

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